Petar Kruzic / Krusics Péter (1491-1537)
In the time of the Dual Kingship of Hungary, he sided with King Ferdinand but in spite of this, he received military support from King Szapolyai as well. (!) Both rivaling kings supported the keeping of Klissza because it was the southernmost Croatian stronghold, isolated by the Turks. Let me remark: it is extremely interesting because Szapolyai was considered the “ally” of Suleiman. King Ferdinánd appointed Krusics in 1529 as the leader of the Bishopry of Bosnia.
The Turks were getting ready to attack Klissza Castle in the spring of 1537. Krusics attacked them during the night of 11 March with his 1,000 men. He had a personal duel with the leader of the Turks, Agha Atli but he lost and the Turk killed him and cut his head off. However, according to others, he wasn’t killed in a duel but while on the run, trying to stop his fleeing Italian and Austrian soldiers who turned their backs on the Ottomans. There, he was caught on a vessel, and in a fierce fight, he was beheaded. Though the way he died does not diminish his heroism.
As a result of his death, and suffering a lack of water supplies, the defenders of Klissza surrendered to the Ottomans in exchange for their freedom. On 12 March 1537, the city and the fortress were released to Turkish control. Many of the citizens left the town while the Uskoci went to the city of Senj, where they continued fighting the Turkish invaders. We can pay tribute before the tombstone of the Captain of Zengg and Klissza at the St Peter Church of Trsat.
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